The U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple Inc. and a handful of major book publishers Wednesday, alleging illegal anti-competitive and collusive price-fixing. According to the suit, with the iPad's launch two years ago, the parties made deals stipulating that Apple get a 30 percent cut of sales of the publishers' e-books and that Apple rivals like Amazon could not sell them at a lower price. The DOJ says those deals violate antitrust law, illegally boosting prices and restraining competition. Some of the publisher defendants — which include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin and Macmillan — are reportedly close to settling. The settlement is expected to scuttle the publishers' deals with Apple, and Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference Wednesday that it would give Apple's rival book-sellers the freedom to reduce their prices.